When is a downgrade / devaluation maybe a good thing?

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downgrade my delta amex reserve card to delta platinum amex card delta points blog

One of the things I have been wrestling with for some time is what to do this November with my second Delta Reserve card. I have my business card and have had it since the late 90’s and will never dump it. But my second card I got for the 10,000 Bonus MQMs that I then rolled over into 2013 since I stopped short of Diamond Medallion last year.

My choices are either soon cancel it and then maybe get it again some time down the road since I will have spent $60,000 on the card this year meaning I will have all the MQMs I can possibly get from the card this year. Or, I can keep it and just spend $60,000 again in 2014 and get 30,000 more bonus MQMs. The thing is, I just don’t need that many MQMs in 2014 as I am rolling over so many MQMs this year from mileage runs. So what to do. Then a simple e-mail from a reader, “Bob”, made me think and just said:

“Renee, why don’t you just downgrade one of your two Reserve cards.”

First Bob, don’t make me a girl 🙂 (two ee’s is the girl’s name, one e is the boy’s). I am just kidding Bob and I love the suggestion. Here is why I am really thinking about this downgrade idea and it might be the right play for me.

I am no fan of upgrading AMEX cards as so many times things can go very wrong. Your spend totals for the year can be wiped out (if you have not redeemed for spend yet) as well as so many other potential issues. But I will have already reached all my spend levels and cannot get more and redemption’s will be locked in. I could maybe try for another spend bonus for the downgraded Platinum Delta AMEX card for 2013, but there is huge risk I would not get credit for all that spend and get nothing since I got the Reserve card spend bonus this year. The better choices is just start fresh 01JAN2014 with this card. The 20,000 bonus MQMs for spending $50,000 plus the 30,000 from my Reserve Delta AMEX for spending $60,000 on it would be just fine. Thus the 50,000 total bonus MQMs total from both cards is more than enough for me for 2014. I already get more upgrades and low level seats from having a Reserve business card and having a second one will not help that or get me even more. Plus, having one of the cards annual fee drop from $450 to $150 will be nice.

I will still have my BOGOF from my Reserve. I may get one from my downgraded Platinum card or not. My guess is that if I wait till the fee for year two bills, and I then call and downgrade, I will get the Reserve certificate anyway, but just don’t know. I will be fine if I get one, get a Platinum one, or don’t get one at all till next year. It will be fun to test either way and I think this is the plan of action for me. What do you think? – René

Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card
RESERVE/PLATINUM/GOLD
from American Express®
Click here for more information

 

 

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19 comments

  1. Question: What are the downgrade options for Gold, Platinum, Reserve cards? Is there another low fee or no fee AMEX card that you could get to keep the account open but restart the 365 day clock on getting another of the same type? The reason I ask is that I have a AMEX delta platinum with a big credit line that I have had forever. Now that I know about this churning game, I’d love to keep that account open and on my credit report, but also be able to churn the Delta AMEXs every year. Do you know of a way to do this?

  2. @Bob – maybe – you can try to downgrade it to a no fee blue cash card and keep your big line. As with most things, if rep one say NO, wait a day, try again 🙂

  3. @Bob…I downgraded my Delta Gold card to the Blue Sky Preferred card earlier this year with no problem. I’m hoping that this will let me get another Delta card bonus next year after the 12 months are up.

  4. Of course, you should also be able to downgrade to one of the no-fee Blue Sky cards as well if you’re looking to avoid the fee totally.

  5. Why wouldn’t you instead apply separately for the Platinum and THEN cancel the Reserve? That way you get the signup bonus.

  6. How can you Start fresh Jan 1, 2014? I thought you could not get the bonus again if you hold or have had the card in the past 12 months.

  7. @David – not the NEW card bonus, but the SPEND bonus for 2014. It resets on 01JAN each and every year for the Delta PLAT and RESERVE cards.

  8. Had same question as David. In addition, I would wait until year 2 fee hits, pay it, get and immediately redeem bonus cert, then call to say fee too high, want to downgrade, and request refund of pro-rated fee.

  9. You are talking $110k spend on these two cards alone. Not to mention any other cards you spend a lot on. Boy, I sure wish this was a “problem” for me too! Hah! Probably not a whole lot of sympathy going out should you not get your bonus cert…. =)

  10. Rene, here is my dilemma. Previously i had no status and wasn’t necessarily planning on it. So I got the Delta Gold personal card earlier this year (about May) just to get some priority boarding and free checked bags and a few extra redeemable miles. I met the min spend needed for the redeemable miles quickly so thats already in my SkyMiles account. Then the sweet deal on the Delta Platinum Business card came out a month or so ago where you could get 55K redeemable miles but 20K MQM for $5K spend in 3 months. Plus still get 10K more MQMs for $25K spend by year end and another 10K MQMs if I reached $50K spend by year end. Well I have met the 5K and got the 20K MQMs now in my account. I want to for Gold at least by year end and have several Mileage runs scheduled (2 to San Diego from Florida and yesterday’s sweet JAX to LAS run since I live a short distance from JAX…thanks so much for the scoop) so I will be closing in on 50K but will need about another 7K or 8K to get to the 50K total. Without making another mileage run before year end, I saw something on the Delta Reserve page that suggested I could upgrade a personal Delta Gold card to a personal Reserve card and get I think 10K bonus MQMs on first purchase. But there were condition tied to it that I didn’t really understand. I haven’t had my Gold card long enough to just dump it now (only had for about 3 months total) and wait 90+ days to get the Reserve outright or if this upgrade would be possible or even worth it. What do you suggest?

  11. @Mike B – that is the issue with AMEX upgrades. They can go very wrong. I would TRY and if you don’t get the MQMs as promised inside 30 days cancel and try plan B!

  12. Had to do a search of your blog and found January 28th post. Was not a reader yet then. I will also check out E3. Thanks!

  13. I downgraded last week.I also have the Delta Platinum Amex. I am saving approx. $300 this year. As a new Diamond, I don’t need the Reserve Card for access to the SkyClub. I travel enough that the $100,000 spend resulting in 40,000 MQM. Like you, I will have a huge rollover this year so I don’t need the extra 10,000 MQM that the Reserve Card would allow me to earn.

  14. @Bob F. – I am only downgrading one of my Reserve cards as I need the other to get more upgrades and more low level seats it gives me 😉

  15. I have the Delta Plat Amex for personal use and then I also have a standard Amex Plat Business card, with a gold secondary card for my wife.

    I will put enough miles on the Delta Amex to get my 10K mqm boost and maintain MQDs for next year. On the Amex Plat card, I get a lot more bang for my buck than on the Delta one.

    Such as:
    Free Access to Sky Club, Admirals Club (AA) and US Airs club (don’t even need to be flying US Air which was great at Bradley in CT, where there is no sky club.

    I also get up to $200 of delta fees credited back to my card and then between 5 back on my card for hyatt and Marriot brand hotels, 5% back on all purchases made at bn.com charged to the card and up to 10% charged at Office Max.com.

    I think at the end of this years billing cycle, The Plat card cost my almost nothing.

  16. Almost forgot, also gives you a priority card to get into most other airline clubs as well, except United. You also get access to Regus for meetings and stuff, but I have not tried that one yet.

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